Another Fraizer Campbell brace was enough to see City to a relatively comfortable victory at Molineux on Sunday. More importantly, it re-established City's eight point advantage at the top of the division and saw them reach the 70 point milestone.
City dominated the opening forty-five minutes and took the lead when Campbell darted in at the front post to nod home a Gunnarsson long throw from close range.
Wolves were fortunate to be just a goal down at the break, though were re-energised after the interval with the introduction of strike pairing Kevin Doyle and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake.
On sixty-seven minutes Campbell made it 2-0 by nodding home a Craig Bellamy set-piece after beating the offside trap, though Bakary Sako registered with a deflected free-kick from the next attack.
But to say it was a nervy finish for the visitors may be a little too courteous to Wolves. City were rarely troubled in the closing twenty minutes of regulation time nor the six minutes of injury time, though Ebanks-Blake will have nightmares over a close-range miss from an unmarked position two yards from goal.
City started very brightly at Molineux, un-nerving the home crowd early on with decisive interplay in the final third. Peter Whittingham was first to strike at goal following neat link up play down the right between Don Cowie and Fraizer Campbell, though unfortunately the midfielder’s effort flashed wide of Carl Ikeme’s near post.
The travelling support panned right across the main stand at Molineux, and it was they who were enjoying the opening fifteen minutes far more than their hosts. Cardiff looked sublime going forward at times with Bellamy and Campbell instrumental; Wolves meanwhile were resigned to attacking on the break and pumping the long ball.
It felt as if the goal was always coming for Cardiff and sure enough it did in the twenty-first minute. Aron Gunnarsson wound up for a long throw following some more superb wing play by Bellamy, and following a front post flick on, Campbell rose unmarked to head home from a yard out – his fourth in five games.
GOAL: WOLVES 0-1 CARDIFF CITY (Campbell, 21mins)
Cardiff continued to pressure the Wolves goal after taking the lead and just after the half hour mark had a golden opportunity to do so. The ball fell kindly to Matt Connolly inside the area following a Bellamy corner from the Cardiff left, though with the goal gaping, the defender side footed his effort over whilst leaning back into the shot. He annoyed himself with the miss – though the greatest annoyance could be felt from the quiet home support who were watching their side being given a footballing masterclass from the League leaders.
Wolves’ best chance of the half came moments before the half time whistle. A hopeful punt down the right hand channel brought about a race between Ben Turner and Sigurdarson. An uncharacteristic Turner slip allowed the striker to nip in behind and direct a cross to Bakary Sako, but fortunately Wolves’ leading scorer couldn’t get hold of the shot properly and scuffed it wide of the upright.
HALF TIME: WOLVES 0-1 CARDIFF CITY
Substitution 45 mins: Kevin Doyle for Tongo Doumbia
Substitution 45 mins: Sylvan Ebanks-Blake for Danny Batth
City started the second half in the same spirit as they had begun the first, and after three minutes of the restart it appeared that they had doubled their lead. Bellamy stabbed home from close range after Carl Ikeme had parried Don Cowie’s low strike, though the assistant on the far side flagged for offside.
But Wolves began to start showing glimpses after this, their change in shape aiding their cause in what had become a more scrappy game. Kevin Doyle had a fantastic chance to equalise from a free-header only to miss-time his jump, before the home side may have tucked home at the near post had Sylvan Ebanks-Blake been able to connect with a teasing Sigurdarson delivery from the right.
Fortunately Cardiff were disciplined and tidy during Wolves’ encouraging spell. A free-kick from the Cardiff left by Bellamy following a foul on Conway, found an unmarked Campbell beat the offside trap; the striker connected to nod home his second of the afternoon.
GOAL: WOLVES 0-2 CARDIFF CITY (Campbell, 67 mins)
Though if anybody though that the game had been won, they were mistaken. Wolves won a free-kick on the edge of the area after Connolly had been adjudged to have fouled Doyle. The Cardiff players certainly didn’t think the decision was correct, though Sako stepped up and struck low, beating Marshall with the aid of a wicked deflection. Wolves were back in it.
GOAL: WOLVES 1-2 CARDIFF CITY (Sako, 69 mins)
Substitution Cardiff City: Kevin McNaughton for Mark Hudson (75 mins)
Substitution Wolves: Kevin Foley on for Matt Doherty (76 mins)
The game became so open and in fairness, despite being dominated from start to finish, Wolves should have equalised. Sako broke down the left with the City defence at sixes and sevens; he found the on rushing Ebanks-Blake who connected from two yards out, though the striker hit the ball into the ground and watched it bounce over the cross-bar, much to his dismay.
Substitution Cardiff City: Heidar Helguson on for Fraizer Campbell (81 mins)
Substitution Cardiff City: Kim Bo-Kyung for Don Cowie (79 mins)
City saw out the remaining nine minutes of regulation time with little discomfort, though when the referee indicated six minutes of injury time, nerves became a little frayed among the travelling support. Wolves pushed, but it was City who could have scored a third on the break had Bellamy had a little more luck with his goal bound effort from the right hand side of the area. It finished 2-1 to Malky Mackay’s side – it was a deserved victory – and City regained their eight point lead at the top with a game in hand over nearest rivals Watford.
FULL TIME: WOLVES 1-2 CARDIFF CITY